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Epic Code LAB233 Anaerobic Culture

Test Name Alias

Culture, Anaerobic | Bacterial Culture, Anaerobic | 8885 | Policytech 5397

Interface Order Alias


Ordering Instructions

Aerobic culture should be ordered to coincide with an anaerobe culture order.

Icons & Photos

ESwab (Preferred) Sterile Container with screw-on lid

Collection Instructions

Label container with patient's full legal name, date of birth, date and time of collection and type/source of specimen.


Specimen Type: Abscess, deep tissue wound, intrauterine device (IUD)
Container/Tube: ESwab*
Collection Instructions: Indicate source of specimen. Specimen is unacceptable if received without fluid or swab in the transport tube.

  1. Open the peel pouch and remove the contents. Aseptically unscrew and remove the cap from the ESwab.

  2. Place the tube in a secure position so as not to allow the liquid to leak out of the tube.

  3. Remove the swab. Collect the patient's sample using the swab.

  4. Insert the swab back into the tube of liquid, all the way to the bottom of the tube.

  5. Holding the swab shaft close to the rim of the tube, break the applicator shaft at the color breakpoint indication line.

  6. Screw the cap on tightly to prevent leakage. Discard the broken handle of the shaft into an approved medical waste disposal container.

  7. Write the patient's information (Name and Date of Birth) on the tube or apply a label with patient’s information. Indicate source.

  8. Send specimen to the Laboratory.


Specimen Transport Temperature: Ambient


Note: The ESwab fluid maintains the viability of diverse bacteria. Do not send a dry ESwab as this will lead to unsatisfactory results. If the tube spills its contents prior to inserting the swab, the liquid is non-toxic. Simply put the swab into another tube before sending it to the laboratory and discard the spilled tube.


Container/Tube: Sterile Container with screw-on lid
Collection Instructions: Indicate source


*Other Acceptable Swabs

The following swabs are acceptable but Spectrum Health Laboratory does not supply these swab types:

  • Aerobic/Anaerobic: BBL Culture Swab Plus (Amies Gel), Cardinal Health Swab, or Charcoal Swab
  • Aerobic ONLY: BBL Culture Swab (Red or green top with sponge) 

Rejection Criteria

Unacceptable specimens: 

  • Superficial wounds and mucosal surfaces (i.e. vaginal, urethral, or throat)
  • Sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage, and other respiratory specimens (except bronchoscopic specimens obtained by protected brush)
  • Urine, unless suprapubic aspirate or a request from Infectious Disease providers for a nephrostomy urine.
  • Sinus swabs are not acceptable. For anaerobic culture of sinus specimens, please submit aspirate or tissue.
  • Catheter tip is unacceptable.

Specimen may also be rejected if the following occurs:

  • Wrong swab is used
  • Specimen does not have 2 patient identifiers
  • Dry ESwab (swab not placed in liquid tube)

Specimen Stability

Ambient: Send to laboratory as soon as possible

Refrigeration (Eswab only): 48 hours

Laboratory Retention: 4 days

Test Frequency

Available daily, usual TAT 3-5 days.

Reference Range

No anaerobic bacteria isolated

Performing Department


Performing Department Laboratory Location

Corewell Health Reference Laboratory, Grand Rapids, MI




If identification and/or susceptibility are indicated, additional charges may follow.

CDM Code


Epic Test ID


Mayo Access Code


Reviewed Date


Updated Date

1/16/2024 - Rejection Criteria